10 books like Happiness

By Matthieu Ricard,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Happiness. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Stumbling on Happiness

By Daniel Gilbert,

Book cover of Stumbling on Happiness

This book argues that humans do not know what makes them happy because we inaccurately perceive our unconscious emotional states. Gilbert makes the case that we consistently habituate to our circumstances and our happiness bounces around a genetically-drive set point. Over our lives, we stumble toward accepting that to thrive, we must seek out small moments of wonder and surprise. This book directly inspired my research on the neuroscience of happiness. My research extended Gilbert's book by showing that peak immersion experiences not only make us happy in the moment, but can train our brains to experience greater happiness throughout our lives.  

Stumbling on Happiness

By Daniel Gilbert,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Stumbling on Happiness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bringing to life scientific research in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, philosophy, and behavioral economics, this bestselling book reveals what scientists have discovered about the uniquely human ability to imagine the future, and about our capacity to predict how much we will like it when we get there. 

• Why are lovers quicker to forgive their partners for infidelity than for leaving dirty dishes in the sink?

• Why will sighted people pay more to avoid going blind than blind people will pay to regain their sight?

• Why do dining companions insist on ordering different meals instead of getting what they…


The Geography of Bliss

By Eric Weiner,

Book cover of The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

The USA is unique in that our Declaration of Independence identifies the happiness of citizens as a goal when organizing the country. The Geography of Bliss asks why all countries are not similarly organized. This book is a fun romp as the author visits different countries that have radically different happiness levels and seeks to find out why. A key finding from the book is that a rich cultural life increases happiness. This is consistent with my research that has shown its connections to, and experiences with, other people that account for most differences in happiness. This book made me think about what communities can do to foster social connections that drive up happiness levels. 

The Geography of Bliss

By Eric Weiner,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Geography of Bliss as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What makes a nation happy? Is one country's sense of happiness the same as another's? In the last two decades, psychologists and economists have learned a lot about who's happy and who isn't. The Dutch are, the Romanians aren't, and Americans are somewhere in between...

After years of going to the world's least happy countries, Eric Weiner, a veteran foreign correspondent, decided to travel and evaluate each country's different sense of happiness and discover the nation that seemed happiest of all.

*He discovers the relationship between money and happiness in tiny and extremely wealthy Qatar (and it's not a good…


The Vedantic Self and the Jungian Psyche

By Dr. Carol Whitfield,

Book cover of The Vedantic Self and the Jungian Psyche

This book explores the healing capacity of the disciplines of Vedanta and Jungian Psyche for a human being. It describes how the emotional well-being and non-dual wholeness of a human being can be achieved.  The author emphasizes when using Vedanta that the lack of differentiation of self from the mind and the world creates our suffering. Therefore, the solution to our problems lies in self-knowledge only. The degree of identification of self with the non-self is causing one to suffer to that degree. All human beings seek love. When we discover the Vedantic self as the source of love then the search for wholeness completes. When we know that the self of others is myself, then we reach the supreme level of intimacy and know others in truth.

The Vedantic Self and the Jungian Psyche

By Dr. Carol Whitfield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Vedantic Self and the Jungian Psyche as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Psychological theories are based on the experiences of the one constructing the theory. If the Vedantic Self becomes a differentiated component of one's experience, then it will naturally weave its way into one's psychological model of the mind.... New knowledge affects the old. Such has always been the case. As we go on learning and differentiating our experience, our theories change to accomodate our growth. In this case, if the existence of the Vedantic Self is differentiated from the psyche, then new knowledge is produced in that act of differentiation which then must be accounted for in the formulation of…


Need for Cognitive Change

By Swami Dayananda Saraswati,

Book cover of Need for Cognitive Change

The book clearly states that cognitive change is required to ensure our well-being. Cognitive change is a change in our outlook on ourselves, God, and the outside world. we need to change from within to face ourselves. Vedanta leads to cognitive change in the fundamental way we look at ourselves and the world. Anger is an expression of the unconscious of a human being. Anger must be managed with a better understanding that it is within the universal psychological order. Because a human being is self-conscious, he finds himself as a person who is lacking and always strives to complete himself through various achievements, relations, and objects. The constant urge to be free from all limitations and lack lies in the self-knowledge that “I am happiness itself”.

Need for Cognitive Change

By Swami Dayananda Saraswati,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Need for Cognitive Change as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"I do not believe that anyone can be happy in today's world without Vedanta. It is not possible because our society is born of competition, nurtured in competition. The competition starts from the cradle! Naturally, our lot is very complex. There is a need for a cognitive change. We need Vedanta to be sane and we have to solve the problem fundamentally. That is the only way; there is no other way. Humanity has driven itself into a corner from where it has no other solution except to know ' I am the whole. ' It is what Vedanta is."…


The Message of the Upanisads

By Swami Ranganathananda,

Book cover of The Message of the Upanisads

The author declares that man must be educated in the knowledge of his own divine nature. This self-knowledge is not of our separate ego-natures but of the oneself which is the self of all. We should strive to realize both the delights of social existence and the fulfillment through the spiritual realization of the self. Clinging to the shadows of the sensate experience, taking them to be the whole of reality, man ignores the infinite and immortal dimension of his personality. This is spiritual suicide and man is submerged in the objects of experience and his real self is enveloped in the darkness of despair and suffering.  The man should deepen his awareness of his little self (ego) and realize it as the Atman, ever free, self-luminous, eternal, and pure.

The Message of the Upanisads

By Swami Ranganathananda,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Message of the Upanisads as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book is a compilatioon of the lectures delivered by Swami Ranganathananda at the Calcutta Ashram and other places.The charm and power of the Upanisads can best be admired by the readers.


Presence, Volume 1

By Rupert Spira,

Book cover of Presence, Volume 1: The Art of Peace and Happiness

This book describes in detail with extreme clarity that knowing our true being is peace, happiness, and love. Our true self is always present consciousness which knows the mind, body, and the world. The belief in the existence of a separate inner self and an external world obscures our true nature. With the veiling of our true nature, an imaginary self that is limited and situated in the mind-body is seemingly created and the search for happiness in the outside world begins. Suffering is the veiling of one's true nature or happiness, not the lack of happiness. After the dissolution of the separate self that we think and feel to be, happiness and love shine forth. Peace and happiness are not the states of body and mind, but inherent to our real nature.

Presence, Volume 1

By Rupert Spira,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Presence, Volume 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Your self, aware presence, knows no resistance to any appearance and, as such, is happiness itself; like the empty space of a room, it cannot be disturbed and is, therefore, peace itself; like this page, it is intimately one with whatever appears on it and is thus love itself; and like water that is not affected by the shape of a wave, it is pure freedom. Causeless joy, imperturbable peace, love that knows no opposite, and freedom at the heart of all experience...this is your ever-present nature under all circumstances.

Our self, aware presence, knows no resistance to any appearance…


The Happiness Hypothesis

By Jonathan Haidt,

Book cover of The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom

This book helped me understand how philosophical traditions I had read about also were connected to scientifically validated approaches to living a happier life. It is very well-written, not too long, and helped me see how these two strands of scholarship were useful to me. There are ways to be happier, and many of the ways to do this are found in the writings of Aristotle and the Stoic philosophers.  

The Happiness Hypothesis

By Jonathan Haidt,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Happiness Hypothesis as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In his widely praised book, award-winning psychologist Jonathan Haidt examines the world's philosophical wisdom through the lens of psychological science, showing how a deeper understanding of enduring maxims-like Do unto others as you would have others do unto you, or What doesn't kill you makes you stronger-can enrich and even transform our lives.


Thrive

By Dan Buettner,

Book cover of Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way

This book asks if those who live the longest are also the happiest. The short answer is sometimes...and that is what makes this book interesting. Part travelog, part science, this book connects happiness to the quality and length of life and argues that connections to others and a rich social life are what allow people to flourish with long and happy lives. I was surprised by the contribution of diet and exercise to one's happiness and while I'm already committed to a healthy diet and consistent exercise, these findings lead me to include these factors in my own research on happiness. One mystery the book does not solve (but my research has contributed to), is why those who are old tend to be quite happy even when they have lost spouses, friends, and children. The causation appears to be bidirectional between the biological basis for happiness and life circumstances. 

Thrive

By Dan Buettner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thrive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What makes us happy? It's not wealth, youth, beauty, or intelligence, says Dan Buettner. In fact, most of us have the keys within our grasp. Circling the globe to study the world's happiest populations, Buettner has spotted several common principles that can unlock the doors to true contentment with our lives. Working with leading researchers, Buettner identifies the happiest region on each of four continents. He explores why these populations say they are happier than anyone else, and what they can teach the rest of us about finding contentment. His conclusions debunk some commonly believed myths: Are people who have…


The Happiness Trap

By Russ Harris,

Book cover of The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living: A Guide to ACT

This might seem an odd book for enhancing your relationship with creativity, but if you struggle with doubts, creative fears (such as a fear of rejection or criticism), the imposter syndrome, anxiety about not being good enough to create what you feel called to create, or other limiting beliefs, the Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) techniques that this book focuses on are just what the doctor ordered. 

Essentially, ACT borrows insights and teachings from older nondual philosophies such as Zen, Buddhism, and Taoism, and puts them in a more conventional, research-based package. Personally, I think ACT doesn’t go nearly far enough to address the root causes of suffering. However, The Happiness Trap gives a quick, easy-to-grasp introduction to some useful techniques that most readers can put into practice right away to create a more “rich and meaningful life.”

The Happiness Trap

By Russ Harris,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Happiness Trap as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE MILLION-COPY BESTSELLER

Do you ever feel worried, miserable or unfulfilled - yet put on a happy face and pretend everything's fine? You are not alone. Stress, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem are all around. Research suggests that many of us get caught in a psychological trap, a vicious circle in which the more we strive for happiness, the more it eludes us.

Fortunately, there is a way to escape from the 'Happiness Trap' in this updated and expanded second edition which unlocks the secrets to a truly fulfilling life. This empowering book presents the insights and techniques of Acceptance…


The Places That Scare You

By Pema Chödrön,

Book cover of The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times

Chodron approaches the subject of our fears and insecurities with such a gentle touch that it would be hard to read it and not change and grow. I found this book accidentally, and let it sit on my bookshelf for years. I should back up and say that I have a theory about great books: they find you when you’re ready for them. I’m so glad this one found me.

The Places That Scare You

By Pema Chödrön,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Places That Scare You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most inspiring spiritual teachers of our time offers simple, practical advice for living with less fear, less anxiety and a more open heart. Bought in a hotly contested auction, The Places That Scare You is now available in massmarket, taking Pema Choedroen 's spiritual teachings to a wider audience.

We always have a choice, Pema Choedroen teaches: we can either let the circumstances of our lives harden us and make us increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kind.

This unique book shows us how to awaken our basic goodness…


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